World Renowned Paleontologist to Speak April 29
PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Dr. William Hammer, the Fritiof Fryxell professor of geology at
Augustana College in Illinois, will speak at the State University of New York College
at Plattsburgh about his expeditions to Antarctica and his discovery of the first
dinosaurs from that continent in a lecture titled, "Dinosaurs on Ice: Jurassic Dinosaurs
from Antarctica," on Thursday, April 29 at 4:30 p.m. in Yokum 200.
Hammer led a group of scientists to Antarctica this past winter where they discovered the remains of an ancient and previously unknown dinosaur. Based on Hammer's field analysis of the rock-encased fossils, he has concluded the bones represent a new species of large dinosaur from the early Jurassic period. The age and location of the find add to the significance of the discovery. Only one other dinosaur has been discovered on the Antarctic mainland, also by Hammer in 1991.
"This location is thousands of miles from the next nearest dinosaur site," said Hammer. "The new remains are in the range of 190 to 200 million years old, an age that puts it very early in the evolution of dinosaurs, at a time when we don't know a whole lot about their evolution."
Hammer said the dinosaurs most people are familiar with, such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, date from the late Cretaceous period, or about 65 million years ago.
Hammer and the four members of his team excavated a site on Mt. Kirkpatrick, located in the Transantarctic Mountain Chain near the Beardmore Glacier, the same location where Hammer unearthed a previously unknown dinosaur 13 years ago. At an elevation of approximately 13,000 feet, the team used jackhammers and carefully placed explosives to excavate the site.
One of the team members was Andy Sajor, a 1996 (bachelor's) and 1999 (master's) graduate of Plattsburgh State, who is an earth science teacher at Peru Central School District. Hammer will also be speaking at Peru on Friday, April 30.
The National Science Foundation funded the research expedition through its Office of Polar Programs, underwriting logistical support such as transport planes, helicopters and the team's field camp and equipment.
Hammer's lecture at Plattsburgh State is free and open to all. It is sponsored by the Center for Earth and Environmental Science and the Earth and Environmental Science Club.